True Fact: Your business will face uncertainty.
As a small business owner who focuses on fresh flowers for weddings and events, you may experience a lot of uncertainty!…for example…
Kim asked in my Facebook group (to florists who’ve been in business for many years):
“Do you have “off” seasons where your booking rates are down? Is this a marathon not a sprint?”
The short answer is yes! Business ownership is a long game…and the path to success isn’t a straight line.
So what do successful business owners do when it’s an “off” year?
Here are 5 ways to Take Action when you’re not sure what to do:
#1. Streamline your “Systems”. A “System” is essentially a process for how you accomplish a task in your business. Typically you document your systems in writing (ie your operating procedures or employee handbook), and use them to identify inefficiencies or opportunities for automation in your business.
Systems are critical for a successful business, because they allow you to:
- generate income with way less effort
- reply faster and more effectively with less stress
- automate and streamline to get more done in less time
I have systems for client communication (and you should too), and I share my E-mail Reply Templates to help give florists a shortcut and you can find them HERE!
#2. Assess your SWOTs. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats?
If you only do 1 thing in an attempt to troubleshoot or plan ahead in your biz, I want to challenge you to take a few minutes to list out your SWOTs. (List as many as you can think of, but 2-5 per category is a good goal for a quick planning exercise.) What are you doing really well?…Which areas “need improvement”?
Now ask yourself:
- How can you address one weakness?
- And…What can you do to accentuate your strengths?
Pro tip: When things feel “off”, it’s essential to take an honest look at what’s going right and what threats or weaknesses you can address. You cannot improve what you do not measure!
#3. Update your website. I say this ALL THE TIME, but that’s only because it’s truly effective. Your website is the ONLY piece of your online presence that you actually own. You don’t own Instagram or Facebook or TikTok and they can change their algorithm anytime they want. Your website is truly yours.
Here’s where to focus your website efforts:
- If you have your most recent pictures on Instagram, but they’re not on your website yet, make updating your gallery a priority!
- Does your About Page have a photo of you and/or your team? If not, then do that TODAY! I don’t care if it’s a professional headshot or a selfie of you in your studio or at your desk….just let me see your face! Your customers are hiring YOU….don’t be afraid to show your face.
- Improve your sales copy. This can be the trickiest aspect of website “stuff” for many florists, but the words you choose to use on your About Page, Weddings Page, Contact Page, etc. should be clear, concise and speak directly to your ideal customers. You’re not talking to “everybody”; you’re talking to the people who are most interested in what you do!
- Blog. Yup. Still this. Blogging. It’s STILL how you optimize organic SEO, develop the voice of your brand and share your most recent happenings with your fans and followers.
If you need some tricks to make your website more engaging, you can get my BEST website secrets HERE.
#4. Connect with other vendors just to check in. Perhaps it’s the mutual referrals that you’ll gain….or perhaps it’s simply a sense of friendship and camaraderie that benefits you both…but “seeking to get” cannot be the motivation for reaching out. Seeking to connect should be the motive, nothing more!
You can choose to seek out a new relationship or simply check in with an established connection (perhaps someone whose work you respect, but you haven’t worked with much lately). Fellow florists, photographers, caterers, venues, you name it….if they serve the clients you wish to serve, they have the potential to be a good connection…but make sure it’s a two-way street. What can you offer to the friends and vendors you connect with? How can you help them?
People can sense when you “want something”….we ALL can tell when someone is reaching out to “get something from us”, but your fellow wedding vendors should be connections that you value and nurture…it’s not about what “they can do for you”, but about how you can help each other.
#5. Shorten the turnaround time on proposals for new clients. If bookings are slow, it’s important to turn proposals around in a timely manner. The quicker you send it out, the quicker you book it, so don’t drag your feet on proposal writing! T
he trick is to give enough detail that the client can trust you, but not give away so much detail that it takes 5 hours to write and send a quote to a client who isn’t under contract and cannot afford your quote.
You can find my shortcut for writing proposals in less time here: How To Write Proposals That Sell and Book More Weddings More Quickly!
Take some action in your business to plan for the future!…so you can keep doing beautiful work!
Remember: “Insight without action is worthless.” -Marie Forleo
After 17 seasons of running my home-studio business the reality of this is inescapable–at some point, every year, there is no “guaranteed” business for the next year. It may be a GREAT year in business this year, but next year’s success is still yet to be determined.
When you design wedding work, but you don’t have a brick & mortar flower shop, the idea of “repeat business” tends to be out of reach because someone planning a wedding this year, isn’t going to be back again next year!
And if you do run a brick & mortar shop, you have the ability to capture repeat business, but there’s daily stock & inventory to manage, employees you need to pay whether it’s a “good month” or a “bad month” and let’s face it, that’s a lot of pressure, too!
So no matter how you slice it, a business venture brings uncertainty, stress and responsibility….
BUT it also brings freedom, control and choice!…
I hope you’ll take action in your business TODAY to keep reaching for your goals.